Saving energy is a big deal for 21st-century homeowners. In the past, it wasn’t on most people’s radar because it didn’t appear important. Plus, trying to reduce your gas and electricity usage without impacting your lifestyle is tough. This hasn’t changed, but what has changed is the fact that property owners understand the benefits of saving energy.
Whether you want to cut the costs of running your home or help protect the planet, you probably already have a list of hacks that you use daily. The likes of eco-friendly light bulbs and appliances eliminate considerable wastage, and turning off devices at the plug is more effective than it appears.
But, what about the stuff you dismiss out of hand? What about the things that you don’t think can save energy? If you’ve committed to reducing your carbon footprint, it’s vital that you go the extra mile. Although the surprise home hacks on this list are relatively small, they pack a significant punch.
Without further ado, here are six ways to cut back on your energy usage that you didn’t know existed before. Continue reading to take your green interiors to the next level.
Passing on clothes and toys from one generation to another is a habit that is dying out. This is because families used to do it to save money. However, most people are better off now with more job opportunities and increased earning power. Therefore, you probably don’t feel the need to keep your kid’s old belongings unless they have sentimental value.
Let’s not forget about the clutter aspect, either. You’ll drown in it if you don’t throw some things away! While this is true, the reality is that lots of items are chucked in the bin without a second glance, even though they are perfectly usable. When you do this, especially with clothes, you invest in the fast-fashion industry, a sector that contributes to huge amounts of pollution.
Shopping at Primark and H&M never seems terrible, yet these stores contribute to 80 billion pieces of clothing produced every year. That equates to millions of tonnes of water and barrels of oil. Sure, you may not overuse oil and water at home, but that doesn’t matter if you’re failing to be frugal with your stuff.
Hand-me-downs are excellent money-savers, too. By being more selective with the stuff you bin, you can reduce your CO2 emissions and boost your bank balance.
Run The Tap
Everyone has been there – the shower takes a while to warm up, so you multitask until it gets up to temperature. You clean your teeth, brush your hair, and check your emails while the showerhead spews out litres of H2O. Yes, it’s productive, yet it isn’t healthy from an energy-saving perspective.
The average shower uses sixty-two litres of water in a single minute. A bath can hold eighty litres, but it isn’t wasted. A tap is even more efficient. The fixtures on your sink usually let out six litres per sixty seconds, which is more than ten times fewer than your shower. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
Yep, instead of turning on the shower and letting it waste a tonne of agua, you can gauge the temperature via the tap on the bathroom sink. After all, they are connected, so once the water is hot in one, it’ll be the same temp in the other.
It’s a little tweak that you wouldn’t typically consider under normal circumstances. However, if you want to go the extra mile, it’s vital that you think outside of the box. It could help you save three-hundred-and-ninety plus litres of water every week.
Stop Using Detergents
A feature of pretty much every modern household is washing detergent. Without a powder and liquid softener combination, it’s challenging to maintain the cleanliness of your clothes. You’d have to go old-school and wash them by hand. No, thanks! Detergent makes running a home ten times easier, yet it’s packed with harmful chemicals.
From sodium sulphate to chlorine and bleach, these substances make their way into natural waterways, such as rivers, canals, and lakes. Once there, the excess nitrogen and phosphorus create a perfect environment for algae. You may assume this a positive thing, but it isn’t because the plant absorbs oxygen from the water, meaning there is less for aquatic animals.
Don’t fret if you can’t find a solution because there are several. You can, for instance, make a natural cleaning detergent that is as powerful and pharmaceutical products. Alternatively, reusable dryer balls naturally soften laundry. When used together, you have an effective mixture that doesn’t harm the planet or its wildlife.
Also, buying fewer supermarket items means you will have less packaging. Recycling helps, but the best way to cut down on plastic pollution is to stop purchasing needless goods in the first place.
Avoid The Oven
Kitchen appliances are lifesavers. All you need to do to make a quick meal is stick everything in the oven and wait for twenty minutes: Voila – Bon appetite. The stove is one of the most used devices in the entire house. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the biggest energy users, which is why you should try and avoid it where possible.
This doesn’t mean you need to call a Gas Safe engineer and remove it from the premises immediately. A modern house will need an oven. However, it’s vital to rethink how you use it and where you can cut back. For example, put food in the microwave if it needs reheating. Or, turn on the grill and rely on the hob.
It may surprise you, yet the hob is twice as efficient as the oven. The latter costs around 33p to power for thirty minutes, whereas the hob is 15p per half-an-hour. Over a year, this trick will save you a fortune in electricity as it should slash your bills in half.
Lean on your microwave where you can because that’s even more eco-friendly relative to an oven. It only uses six-hundred watts, which equates to 10p every thirty minutes. For more info on the appliances that use the most juice, you should check out this comprehensive post by the Centre for Sustainable Energy.
Landscape The Garden
Those who are lucky enough to own a garden shouldn’t take it for granted. Firstly, it’s a fantastic place to retreat in the spring and summer months when the weather is warm. This lets you de-stress and relax after a long day, which is incredibly good for your mental health. Of course, there are energy benefits, too.
The main one revolves around landscaping. Structuring your property may not appear as if it’s useful in any way, other than helping it to look good, yet this isn’t the case. Formatting your garden allows you to promote green elements, such as plants, flowers, and trees.
As a rule, well-placed trees can save a property as much as £200 annually. The reason is that trees absorb CO2 and release oxygen, making your home less reliant on heating appliances. In America, the USDA Forest Service reports that they cut air conditioning usage by 30% and heating by up to 50%.
Plus, trees add value to your home in some circumstances. It depends on the buyer, yet a mature trunk and leafy branches are the epitome of the quintessential garden attached to their dream home. Seriously, some trees are worth thousands of pounds. This isn’t a joke, people!
Request An Audit
Audit? Isn’t that the thing HMRC does when they suspect you of fraud? It is, but this isn’t that type of forensic analysis! An energy audit is when your provider analyses your property to see whether it saves energy and where it wastes it. Often, reviews prove that your windows need replacing due to being fitted and things of that nature.
To begin with, it’s worth scheduling an appointment because you lack the experience that the professionals possess. As long as you trust their judgement, they will know which elements of your house are inefficient. Secondly, audits tend to reveal stuff that you didn’t realise were problematic. You could feel the draft from the front door, but what about the leak from the u-bend under the sink?
And, you get all of this without having to pay a penny. Some providers may charge for the service, yet the majority offer it for free as it’s in their best interests. That means calling them and asking about an energy audit could eliminate wastage at home.
Just pick up the phone and inquire to find out everything you need to know about this service. A tip: conduct an audit before making changes. If you don’t, you may end up “fixing” issues unnecessarily.
You shouldn’t overlook small home hacks as they have the potential to save massive amounts of energy and money. Whether you use dryer balls instead of detergents or finally landscape the garden, there are plenty of options at your disposal.
How will you make your home even greener?